Rowing upmarket to Farran family home for €640,000

This charmingly restored 100-year-old cottage comes with landscaped garden, stable and paddock
Rowing upmarket to Farran family home for €640,000

Farran, Co Cork



232 sq m (2502 sq ft)







FAMILIES of wanna-be Olympians keen to row in the winning slipstream of national treasures such as the O’Donovan brothers, may have a particular interest in this charmingly restored home just 2km from the National Rowing Centre in Farran Woods.

In fairness, its charms go well beyond a handy location for future elite athletes to base themselves.

It’s an expertly renovated and extended cottage that kept the good bits of its heritage – thick sills and high ceilings, dry stone wall out front and original pedestrian gate – while undergoing a wholly modern makeover, with a strong focus on sustainability.

A score of ground-mounted solar panels work with a Sonnen power bank, a neat piece of German engineering, that stores clean energy, and goes a long way towards powering this home.

While those with skin in the construction game will tell you that it’s immeasurably easier to build from scratch than to drag a circa 100-year-old home into the 21st century, Dominic Lynch’s background meant he had the necessary nous for a head-to-toe renovation of this old workman’s cottage on the margins of historic Farran Estate.

Back in the day, the cottage would have housed those working the sprawling estate on behalf of the Clarke family, originally from Liverpool, who bought Farran House in 1868. (Prior to that, the estate was in the Penrose name, descendants of a Cornish family who settled in Co Waterford).

William Clarke was a highly successful tobacco merchant – of ‘Clarke’s Perfect Plug’ renown – and owned 5,679 acres in Co Cork. The Clarke’s lived at Farran for three generations, until 1937, when the estate was sold to the Land Commission, who divided it into smaller holdings. Their main legacy to the parish was the fabulous public amenity that is Farran Woods.

Farran is an ideal spot for families with young children who want to base themselves in the countryside while staying handy to urban amenities (Ballincollig is a couple of minutes’ drive).

This particular home is within walking distance of the local national school and two Montessori premises. And it has the additional appeal of a bottom-of-the-garden stable, with parking for a horse trailer, for all those pony-lovers out there. There’s a private paddock too – where the solar panels are mounted – and a 95m long, beautifully landscaped rear garden (thanks to landscaper Stephen Dempsey of the Clock House in Inniscarra), which includes a patio just off the open-plan kitchen/dining area and steps down to a gravel path that cuts obliquely through the lawn.

At the bottom of the garden between lawn and stable, is a 24 sq m log cabin that the Lynch kids have got great use from.

Norma Healy of Sherry FitzGerald, who is selling the four-bed, conjoined cottage (she sold the cottage next door five years ago, with less land, for €470,000) says the cabin is an ideal teen space/kids’ den/home gym. (If you prefer outdoor exercise, the Lee Valley Golf Club is close by).

Back indoors, the kitchen is bespoke, by House of Coolmore, and off it, there’s a utility room and guest WC. These were all added on, along with the step-down dining area, when Dominic and Deirdre Lynch began reworking the cottage in 1999.

“At the time, it was a two up, two down, and we took it back to the four walls,” Dominic says.

In 2004/2005, they undertook further extensions and renovations, adding a large sitting room, a sunroom which is used as a home office and a very large main bedroom overhead, almost a suite, with a lovely porthole window and ensuite.

Dominic says they added in the order of 1800 sq ft and the house now measures 2,502 sq ft. It’s very tastefully decorated, from the pretty powder pink front door to the striking turquoise tiles of the revamped main bathroom, and there’s some very nice design features, such as the inbuilt storage seat in the mosaic-tiled porch, with coat pegs in a neat row above, to the built-in wall-length hallway cupboards for cloakroom storage, to the steps down to both the sitting room and dining room where there’s a lovely internal window facing onto the hallway. Two wall-length picture windows in this area frame the garden and there’s a door to the patio.

Those looking to work from home will not be short of options as there’s a good range of accommodation, including a playroom if the kids aren’t content with the log cabin, and the sunroom - which can revert to being a sunroom or continue as a home office.

Ms Healy, who is guiding the “storey-and-a-half” dormer at €640,000, describes it as a “trading up” family home, in which interest is strong. She says it’s exceptionally well-presented with great care taken to make it more sustainable, with power and heating supplemented by the solar panels and power bank (estimated 40% energy savings pa with capacity to add additional battery storage). There’s provision for charging electric vehicles too.

Having brought the cottage as far as possible and done a very fine job, the Lynch’s are now embarking on a self-build.

“The cottage was a partial canvas but we always wanted to start from scratch. We have an opportunity now to put a footprint on something new so that is what we are going to do,” Dominic says.

VERDICT: Picture perfect, inside and out.Ideal for family.

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